11 February 2009 23:34 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--A US Navy cruiser captured seven suspected pirates on Wednesday off the coast of Somalia after a chemical tanker issued a distress call, the Navy said.
The capture marked the first time a multinational task force formed to combat piracy has picked up suspected Somali hijackers, the Navy's 5th fleet said in a statement.
The Marshall Islands-flagged MV Polaris sent a distress call to all ships in the area, saying that a small skiff with suspected pirates had attempted a forcible boarding of the tanker using a ladder, the Navy said.
But Polaris crewmembers removed the ladder before pirates could come aboard, the Navy said.
The USS Vella Gulf, a guided-missile cruiser, responded to the distress call and intercepted the suspected pirate skiff. The suspected pirates were brought on board and will be transferred to the US Navy ship Lewis and Clark where they will be temporarily detained, the Navy said.
The Polaris is controlled by Athens-based Primera Maritime, according to another media report. There were no details on the ship's cargo.
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